by Ken Brown
MARSHFIELD – Starting as soon as this fall, some of Twinfield-Cabot’s athletic programs will begin to unify with Danville to create a long-term cooperative or member to member agreement after historic floods completely destroyed the varsity soccer fields at both Cabot and Twinfield last month.
Act 46 and school choice has made it extremely difficult for small Division IV schools across the state to remain open, let alone keep and sustain their athletic programs the past five years. Twinfield and Cabot have had cooperative agreements off and on for decades, but Cabot officially dissolved their varsity programs in the fall of 2018 and their student-athletes have competed for Twinfield-Cabot ever since. Even with the agreement in place, participation numbers and results have been erratic from season to season, with Twinfield dropping their baseball program all-together in the spring of 2021, sending their student athletes over to Danville to compete the past two years. Danville’s historic softball program that captured six Division IV state championships under head coach Paul Remick was surprisingly unable to field a team this past spring and their student athletes joined forces with Twinfield-Cabot. So, while the devastation from the flooding this past summer may have helped push the co-op between these three schools over the finish line, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time.
Caledonia Central Supervisory Union (CCSU) superintendent Mark Tucker has sent a drafted letter to principals, athletic directors, and coaches of all three schools notifying them of the coming changes in their athletic landscape. Effective immediately, varsity girls’ soccer will be combined across all three schools and compete on the Danville team schedule. Twinfield-Cabot head coach Seth Wilmott will step down after six seasons after rebuilding a struggling soccer program that hosted back-to-back playoff matches in ‘20 and ‘21, posting their first winning season in over a decade two years ago. Danville went 7-8-1 under head coach Spencer Morse last fall, falling to top seed Leland & Gray in the Division IV quarterfinals. Combining rosters should bolster dwindling participation numbers at all three schools and help better navigate a highly competitive Mountain League schedule. Both boys’ and girls’ middle school teams will also be combined across all three schools starting this fall, with each team playing a full schedule in the Northeast Athletic League. The teams will practice and play home games at Danville.
The Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer program will compete as their own team this fall unless Danville’s participation numbers dip to the point where they cannot field a team. Head coach Peter Stratman has totally revamped a fledgling boys’ soccer program at Twinfield-Cabot in just four seasons at the helm. He guided them to their first Division IV Final Four in 21 years in 2021 with an eleven-win season and his talented squad duplicated that same exact feat just last fall. Stratman has over 100-career coaching victories in his stints at both Cabot and Twinfield-Cabot, taking both schools to multiple Final Four appearances. The letter from Tucker doesn’t give specifics on the eminent cooperative, but states that varsity boys’ soccer will combine into one team from all three schools for future years. With Cabot’s rec fields sitting under sewage, sand, and silt and Twinfield’s competition field lying under nearly a foot of sand from the floods, the Trojans will hope to be able to use their upper field behind the school for practice. They will play mostly if not all away games this fall at alternative sites such as Danville or U-32 for potential home games.
“Work has started recently to repair the fields, but they are in rough shape and it’s hard to put it in perspective. There are a lot of logistical challenges on the horizon, but we hope to get our upper field in practice shape, but it was heavily rutted by vehicles fleeing the flooded campground. It’s going to be a weird year against a very tough schedule,” said Stratman.
As far as the winter sports season is concerned, Tucker’s letter states that basketball will continue as it has in the past. It is expected that Twinfield-Cabot and Danville will continue to field their own varsity girls’ and boys’ teams, but roster numbers will be monitored and adjustments will be made if needed. Spring sports are expected to remain the same with member agreements made between the three schools last season. Danville softball players will play for Twinfield-Cabot and vice versa for varsity baseball.
Tucker also mentions in the letter that creating a new identity, team name, uniform, logos, will be in the works for the future of CCSU Athletics and with that will come a new budget structure. He also noted that transportation for student athletes to practices and games on time from all three schools will be challenging and take a collaborated effort.